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Wednesday 2st February
Time to Talk Day is the annual reminder to encourage everyone to engage in that important conversation about mental health. Talking and listening are extremely powerful tools for improving our own and others' overall wellbeing. Each time a conversation about mental health takes place we are actively challenging the stigma and we encourage others to do the same.
We asked our own Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners why it is important to take part in the Nations biggest conversation about mental health.
Vicci Rowlands – Step 2 Clinical Supervisor
When you are struggling with your mental health it can feel very lonely and isolating. Sometimes we may feel like we are the only one feeling the way that we do, or that other people’s problems are worse than our own so we should be happy with our life or should be able to cope.
Sometimes we may feel embarrassed, or worried about what others may think, so we keep things to ourselves and when people ask how we are we respond with “I’m fine”. But what if opening up and being honest about how we feel could help others to do the same?
According to NHS England, one in four adults and one in ten children experience mental health difficulties. In reaching out for support and starting conversations, we can begin to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation and this could also help and encourage others to do the same.
Mary Davis – Senior Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner
As humans, we all experience ill health and well health. This is in relation to physical health and mental health. Often we hear “How are you?” but how often are we honest about that answer? Next time you ask someone, really listen. And probe for more information to show you really care about how someone is. Next time you are asked, honestly answer. This is about being real and being there. We all need a listening ear at times, so open the door to let people in. This is the essence of Time to talk day, making space for conversation to happen about feelings.
Yahya Delair – Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner
As the famous quote goes: a problem shared is a problem halved.
Talking about our problems is not easy but speaking to someone we trust and feel comfortable with always relieves mental pressures when we open up. Speaking to someone allows us to share our thoughts, problem-solve and consider other perspectives. Here are a few tips to start:
Ksenia Gertsen – Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner
Talking about mental health and the difficulties you experience isn’t always easy. However, doing so and opening up more to our friends, family, colleagues and others, in general, can have a positive impact on your wellbeing. Opening up a conversation can make you feel validated and make you realise that you are not the only one. This way you can feel supported by others, feel less alone and also feel rewarded by listening to and being there for someone else. When we struggle, we have a tendency to withdraw from others. However, being around others in these moments is what can help you manage and feel better.
Rosemarie Fasoel – Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner
In order to be able to talk about our own mental health it is helpful if we can recognise and identify some of the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
When we feel depressed or anxious, we will tend to avoid situations. In depression, due to a lack of motivation and fatigue, we start to do less or avoid activities such as pleasurable activities (which include socialising and self-care), necessary activities and routine activities. The less we do the more tired, depressed, and unmotivated we feel. We will isolate ourselves and stop sharing with others. By accessing your support system and sharing with others about what is going on with you the better you will start to feel. Start with realistic goals, if meeting a friend for lunch is too much for you consider having them over for a coffee or just giving them a call. Reach out to organisations such as the Samaritans: 116 123 open 24 hours a day 365 days of the year. The Samaritans are not only a crisis centre but also a listening service and completely anonymous. They will listen to you if you are having a bad day, they take a non-judgemental approach and will not give you any advice. They also offer text and email options.
At times it can be sometimes easier to recognise anxiety through the physical symptoms we experience when the fight, flight freeze response is triggered. Symptoms include a change in breathing, heart palpitations, headaches, poor concentration, muscle tension and sleep difficulties. Anxiety manifests cognitively (in the way we think) as worrying. When anxious we will avoid the situations that make us anxious but, in the long run avoidance will only perpetuate the anxiety. By reaching out to family, friends, mental health services or charity organisations we will often find the support we need and will feel less alone.
Aisling Donohue – Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner
When we feel anxious or low there may be things that we are doing or not doing to help us cope. Some of these coping strategies may be helpful or unhelpful. One of the things that can contribute to maintaining a vicious cycle of anxiety or low mood is bottling things up. Far too often people feel that they don’t want to “burden” others with their problems. This can lead to a build-up of stress and feelings of isolation. Although opening up to others can feel daunting, once you take that first step it can provide a sense of relief. Talking about how you feel opens up the opportunity to feel supported and less alone. Others may even be able to help you problem-solve the situation in ways that you had not previously considered. So, if you ever fear that you may be judged by talking about your problems, ask yourself “would I ever judge someone for opening up to me?”« Back to News & Blog
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